Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison have announced the Empire State Development Corporation has approved the creation of a land bank by Dutchess County and the City of Poughkeepsie to return vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties in the community to productive use.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Too often properties that are abandoned and not maintained become a safety risk and discourage local businesses or families from moving into a neighborhood. These properties could, and should, be put to better use, and this land bank will be an important tool for transforming some of the blighted properties within the City of Poughkeepsie. We are grateful to the Empire State Development Corporation for their support of this opportunity and look forward to working collaboratively to redevelop these properties to better serve the community as a whole.”
City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison said, “The city has made great progress with its Anti-Blight Task Force, which was established in 2018 and has reduced the number of vacant properties from approximately 600 to under 270. The land bank should prove another valuable asset in these critically important efforts. We look forward to working with the county to reduce blight and foster positive redevelopment in our city.”
Under the New York State Land Bank Program, local municipalities can apply to create land bank not-for-profit corporations in their communities to acquire properties that are tax delinquent or foreclosed, vacant and/or abandoned, and help eliminate the harms and liabilities caused by such properties.
County and City officials, including representatives of the County Legislature and Common Council, as well as staff from the City and the County departments of Finance, Law, and Planning and Development, have been working for more than a year to develop the process to form a Dutchess County and City of Poughkeepsie Land Bank.
“After having worked with my colleagues in the common council for more than two years to bring a land bank to Poughkeepsie, I am overjoyed at the news today of the state’s approval,” said Council Member Sarah Brannen, a co-sponsor of the original resolution. “I’m grateful for everyone in the city, county, and among the local community who helped us reach this important milestone. I look forward to us taking the next step toward encouraging redevelopment and bringing vitality to our neighborhoods.”
Poughkeepsie City Council Chair, Sarah Salem, said, “Hard work and collaboration really does pay off. The Dutchess Poughkeepsie Land Bank will help to ensure that, as the City of Poughkeepsie recovers and grows, our community members will have access to affordable housing and be able to achieve homeownership, thereby building community wealth. County/City Land Bank models are relatively new, but they have been very successful across the state. I’m proud to see our application approved by New York State and proud of the work myself and my colleagues put into its development over the last year and a half.”
The land bank will have nine board members – two each appointed by the County Executive, County Legislature, Mayor and the Common Council – and one being a joint County and City appointee. The land bank board will hold an organizational meeting to discuss the adoption of by-laws, filing incorporation papers with the State, and staffing within the next two months. The County and City will then work collaboratively to identify properties to be transferred to the land bank.
For more information, contact the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development at (845) 486-3600.